Spot the Difference: dSLR or iPhone?

I often hear people complaining that their camera is rubbish and they can't get good photos. You may have been guilty of this yourself but, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter what technology is in your hands, you can still get cracking photos that anyone would be proud of.

This year I got an iPhone. I'd put off getting one so far as I've never really been a fan of Apple products, but the lure of the camera was too strong. I've seen so many great photos taken on a simple iPhone that I've been itching to give it a try myself. Just check out the iPhone photography awards if you don’t believe me.

Normally I shoot with my Sony a77, a 'prosumer' dSLR camera. I've been wanting to change my kit to something smaller for a while as the a77's heavy and I end up with pretty bad neck and wrist ache if I've been covering a conference or out on a shoot with a client. Up until fairly recently you couldn't get anything really 'pro' in a small body but that's all changed.

Sony led the way in 2012 with their DSC-RX1 and although you still can't quite get away as a professional with a camera phone, the technology’s not far off. Which brings me to the topic of this blog; telling the difference between a photo taken on a big, bulky dSLR and an iPhone.

So, can you spot the photo that was taken on my iPhone from each of the pairs below?

A dSLR/iPhone photo comparison of Reykjavík Cathedral

Reykjavík Cathedral

A dSLR/iPhone photo comparison of a Bluebell

A Bluebell in Essex

A dSLR/iPhone photo comparison of Sólheimajökull glacier

Sólheimajökull glacier, Iceland

A dSLR/iPhone photo comparison of Reykjavík harbour

Reykjavík harbour

For the answers, either highlight the text below or look to the end of the article:

The Cathedral image shot on my iPhone was:
The Bluebell image shot on my iPhone was:
The Glacier image shot on my iPhone was:
The Harbour image shot on my iPhone was:

How many did you get right?


You can replicate the same results on pretty much any smartphone today, including editing. All of the above photos were taken using my iPhone with no attachments and my Sony a77 with the 16-50mm f2.8 kit lens, except the bluebell photos where I used the olloclip 1.5x macro lens attachment for my iPhone and the Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens on my dSLR. The iPhone photos also were edited on the device (but cropped on the computer to try and make them comparable to the camera photos).

One of the technical reason that these photos are so similar is that iPhones, like a few other smartphones, use Sony sensors. The technology that is in my phone, albeit smaller, is very similar to the technology in my camera. With technology advancing at the rate it is, I would put money on being able to give up my dSLR altogether and just shoot on my phone in the not too distant future. Those will be the days of convenience and relieved, happy wrists.

What are your thoughts on mobile phone photography? Let me know in the comments below or @EnnaVennDigi.

Answers: Cathedral - B, Bluebell - A, Glacier - A, Harbour - B

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